A Weekly Message from Rabbi Sam Levine 6.24.22

Dear friends,

This past Shabbat, my son Matan, the bar mitzvah, spoke about gratitude. Specifically, he referenced the Ramban’s (Nachmanides’) commentary on verse 11:1, in which the Israelites complain “bitterly before the Lord” and an angry and frustrated God punishes them by sending a fire to ravage the camp. Trying to understand the nature of God’s anger, Ramban notes that the people should have followed God “with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart by reason of the abundance of all [good things] (Deuteronomy 28:47).

In the rush of activity this past Shabbat, I forgot to share a little anecdote about Matan that I had filed away. I was driving him to school a couple of weeks ago, and we were stuck in bad traffic, bound to be late for school yet again. I grumbled something about the predicament and the gridlock, and without missing a beat, Matan said Gosh Dad! Stop complaining – you’re just like the Israelites! A classic Matan comment.

Well most of us do complain sometimes – it’s hard not to, frankly, in this non-stop and often-vexing world we live in. But on behalf of Courtney and myself, I want to say to our community that we are fully cognizant of the “abundance of all good things” that you bring to our lives and that we are filled with “joyfulness and gladness of heart” for all of you. It was (and always is) a joy and an honor to pray with you, to study with you, and to celebrate with you. While there are no more b’nei mitzvah celebrations in my family, there are many more s’machot (joyous occasions) in our collective future as we all continue to walk the EMJC path together.

So with deep gratitude for all the members of our community, thank you for your forbearance, your understanding, your generosity of spirit, and your wishes.

Shabbat shalom um’vorach – a peaceful and blessed Shabbat,

Rabbi Sam Levine